The strategy of professional development and their impact on public sector employees in the U.A.E

Structuring your Research
The following elements are crucial in a good research
proposal. Each item aligns to a section in the research
proposal template:
This can change, but make sure to include important key
words that will relate your proposal to relevant potential
supervisors, funding schemes and so on.
1. Project Summary
In this section you should provide a summary of your
proposed research intelligible to a reader who is not a
specialist in this field; summarize the aims, significance
and expected outcomes of the research.
2. Project Details
Be sure to establish a solid and convincing framework for
your research in this section. This should include the
following sub-sections:
a) Research Questions
This section should explain the research question(s) (1-3
should suffice) and may include the hypothesis or problem
to be addressed.
The major approach(es) you will take (conceptual,
theoretical, empirical and normative, as appropriate)
and rationale
Significance of the research (in academic and, if
appropriate, other fields)
b) Aims/Objectives of the Project
What do you want to know, prove, demonstrate, analyse,
test, investigate or examine? List your aims in a logical
sequence, e.g.
The aim of this project is to:
Provide an outline of a research proposal
Enable a prospective student to prepare a research
c) Significance/Contribution to the Discipline
In this section you should justify the project from a review
of literature on the topic: discuss the texts which you
believe are most important to the project, demonstrate
your understanding of the research issues, and identify
existing gaps in the literature that the research is intended
to address. This section is intended to sign-post and
contextualise your research questions, not to provide a
detailed analysis of existing debates.
You should also use this section to make links between
your research and the existing strengths of the
School/Discipline to which you are applying. Visit
appropriate websites to find out about existing research
taking place in the School and how your project can
complement this.
d) Theoretical Framework and Methods
You do not need to have full details of the methods you
will use to answer your research questions but you need
to demonstrate that you have already given some thought
about how you will do things.
The important thing is to anticipate the methods you will
use to achieve the project aims and to show that your
project is feasible in the time period available. If your
proposal is too elaborate and not feasible within 3 or 4
years for a PhD or 1-2 years for a Masters, your
application is likely to be unsuccessful.
Aim to address the following
How do you anticipate you will achieve the project
aims and what is your rationale for adopting this
What do you need (identify any special equipment,
software or material)
Can you access necessary data or expertise?
Do you require particular resources?
Are there barriers or pitfalls?
Does the proposed project involve human ethics,
animal ethics or safety implications?
Will travel or fieldwork be required? If so: where to,
how long and at what intervals?
4. Research Plan and Timeline (This section is
not required by all Faculties)
Provide a monthly/quarterly outline of how you will
complete the work within the time scheduled. A full-time
PhD normally takes 3 years and a Masters degree 2
years. Part time qualifications can be expected to take 6
years (PhD) and 4 years (Masters).
5. References Cited/Bibliography of Planned
Reading (no word limit applies) (This section
is not required by all Faculties)
Your references should provide the reader with a good
sense of your grasp on the literature and how you can
contribute to it. Be sure to reference texts and resources
that you think will play a large role in your analysis, in
addition to your planned readings.
Possible Pitfalls
Sometimes, students who fit the minimum entrance
criteria fail to be accepted as PhD candidates as a result
of weaknesses in the research proposal. To avoid this,
keep the following advice in mind:
Make sure that your research idea, question or
problem is clearly stated, persuasive and addresses
a demonstrable gap in the existing literature;
Make sure that you have researched the
School(s)/Discipline(s) to which you are applying to
ensure that there are staff interested in your subject
area and available to supervise your project. As
mentioned previously it is strongly advised that you
contact potential supervisors in advance, and provide
them with a polished version of your proposal for
Ensure that the proposal demonstrates an
understanding of research methods and research
approaches and is it clear that the research methods
identified are appropriate to the research question(s)
Ensure that the scope of your project is reasonable,
and remember that there are significant limits to the
size and complexity of a project that can be
completed and written up in three years (PhD)/ 2
years (Masters). The University will be assessing
proposals not only for their intellectual ambition and
significance, but also for the likelihood that the
candidate can complete this project;
Make sure that your passion for the subject matter
shines through in the structure and arguments
presented within your proposal. Remember that we
may not be experts in your field it is up to you to
make your project and subject matter engaging to
your readers!